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Tour of Nevada/Utah/California

St Asaph
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Tour of Nevada/Utah/California

We are travelling to USA in July 2005 and would like to do the helicopter trip into Grand Canyon, visit Las Vegas, Zion NP, Bryce Canyon, then head out for Southern California possibly stopping in Palm Springs, San Diego & LA before flying back to UK. We have 14 days to do the whole trip. What would be the best itinerary & most scenic route?

Colchester UK
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1. Re: Tour of Nevada/Utah/California

Hi

Are you flying into LA? I'm presuming you are. But just confirm and I'll try and giveyou some ideas.

Tony

Colchester UK
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2. Re: Tour of Nevada/Utah/California

Hi

Assuming you want to see as much as possible in the time you have you could try this.

From LA make your way to La Canada Flintridge and pick up CA2, Angeles Crest Highway, very scenic route across the San Gabriel Mountains. Then take CA138 and CA18, Rim of the World Highway, very scenic once again, then CA247 across the Mojave Desert to Barstow and overnight here. From Barstow take I-15 to Las Vegas. A nice side trip would be to leave I-15 at Baker and take a loop through the Mojave National Preserve, via Kelso and Cima, and rejoin I-15 near the CA/NV border. Spend a couple of nights in Vegas and take your helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon. From Vegas take I-15 and UT9 to Springdale, now we are talking seriously scenic. Spend a couple of nights at Springdale with a day to enjoy Zion NP. From Springdale take UT9 then US89 to Panguitch for two nights. Spend a day enjoying Bryce Canyon NP. From Panguitch take UT143, UT148, through Cedar Breaks NM, then UT14 to rejoin I-15 and head back towards LV. This time take the road through Valley of Fire SP and alongside Lake Mead to overnight at Boulder City. From Boulder City take US95, I-40, towards LA, then take the Old National Trail Highway (Route 66) to Amboy. At Amboy make a left towards Twentynine Palms. Pick up CA62, I-10 and CA111 to bring you to Palm Springs for a couple of evenings. Take the opportunity to visit Joshua Tree NP and Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains NM. From Palm Springs take CA111, CA86, past the Salton Sea (232ft below sea level, say hello to the Pelicans), then CA78 through Anzo Borrego Desert SP, then pick up I-15 for San Diego for a couple of nights. Enjoy San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld etc. From San Diego Take I-5 then CA1, the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Monica and enjoy your last couple of days chilling. You could allow yourselves more time in Vegas or a trip to Death Valley NP (should be insanely hot in July!) by driving direct from Palm Springs back to LA and saving San Diego for a later date. Get yourselves a good map and start planning, that's half the fun of a trip like this. Have a great trip, drive safely and if I can be of any other assistance don't hesitate to ask.

Tony

tony.grant2@ntlworld.com

St Asaph
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3. Re: Tour of Nevada/Utah/California

Hi fatbald, many thanks for your suggestions & all the detail. We have decided now to fly to San Diego to start the tour then fly home from Las Vegas. I've checked out your route on my map & it sounds great. Many thanks for your advice.

Just a couple of further questions. Is it worth trying to fit in the I-12 somewhere? I have heard it is a very scenic road. Also what are the roads that you have mentioned like in terms of drivability? Would you recommend a 4 wheel drive car or all they all good paved roads?

Colchester UK
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4. Re: Tour of Nevada/Utah/California

Hi again

I don't blame you for wanting to drive, I believe you mean, UT12. It is truly one of the most scenic roads anywhere in the World! Unfortunately something would have to go to enable you to fit it in, as driving UT12 would leave you out on a bit of a limb, my advice would be LA.

If you want to overdose on some serious scenery and don't mind driving, don't worry driving in the American Southwest bears absolutely no comparison with driving in the UK, where'd all the traffic go?, you could try.

San Diego, a couple of nights, then to Palm Springs, one night. From Palm Springs drive through Joshua Tree NP, pick up the Old National Trail Highway to I-40, eastbound. Once across the Colorado make for Oatman (Historic Route 66) an old mining town that hasn't changed much since the 1860's, looks like a film set. From there continue to Kingman and overnight. From Kingman take AZ66 (Historic Route 66 again). Have a break at the Grand Canyon Caverns, near Peach Springs, then continue on to pick up I-40 again to Flagstaff. Spend a couple of nights in Flagstaff. Now you can drive to the Grand Canyon and not only take your flight over it but get to stand on the rim and be overawed. From Flagstaff take US89, northbound, then US160 and US163 to Mexican Hat. Take a drive round the loop road in Monument Valley and pretend your John Wayne (everyone does) on your way to Mexican Hat. Overnight in Mexican Hat. From Mexican Hat enter stunning Southern Utah by taking UT261,UT95 (The Trail of the Ancients) and UT24 to Torrey and overnight. If time allows take a look at Natural Bridges NM on the way. From Torrey take UT12, awesomely scenic, to Bryce Canyon/Panguitch. Two nights here to give you chance to enjoy Bryce Canyon NP. From Panguitch to Springdale, via Cedar Breaks NM, for two nights and enjoy beautiful Zion NP. From Springdale to Las Vegas, via Valley of Fire SP.

It seems like a lot of driving, but the miles fly by and the scenery is stunning. I have driven all these roads, and will be returning again in May, and they are all good paved roads with the exception of a small section of UT261. But that's nothing to worry about, you won't need a 4x4. Just make sure you get something with a roof on! In july it will be very hot, you'll need the air-con!

Once again have a great trip. If you need any more assistance you know where I am.

Tony

North Carolina
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5. Re: Tour of Nevada/Utah/California

Fatbald knows what he's talking about. For my money, there's nothing to compare to UT-12 and Bryce Canyon. A short spur onto the Burr Trail off of UT-12 at Boulder (through Long Canyon) is another exceptional bit of scenery. Utah 12 has something different around every corner... from high mountain aspens to red rocks and everything in between!